On the 22nd of February 2012, Sr. Sue Rakoczy ranted, in her blog on The Southern Cross website, that the Pope had apparently made use of the term “Lord Cardinals” during the recent consistory. Sr. Sue stated that she found the Pope’s use of the term “Lord Cardinals” disturbing.
Sr. Sue, in the same blog, also dispensed advice to the Pope regarding the Gospel readings that he should have used during the consistory. (See my earlier blog about this titled: “Who Said Lord Cardinals”)
I have read the full texts of Pope Benedict XVI’s address, as well as watching some of it on EWTN. In addition to me, other people have also commented on the blog that they can find no evidence to support the statement by Sr. Sue that the Pope had in fact used the term “Lord Cardinals”.
Sr. Sue Rakoczy has been specifically asked on the blog, by at least three people, to provide her source. She however chose to simply ignore or just refused to comply with these reasonable requests. I am not sure which.
The editor of The Southern Cross then posted a comment on the blog stating: “For the record, this was a blog post which does not appear in the newspaper.” I however fail to see the relevance of this comment and neither do I understand how this comment by the editor changes the facts of the matter.
The fact that this blog is specifically housed on The Southern Cross website, under the category of "Southern Blogs", where it has also received 14 days of prominent exposure on the homepage of The Southern Cross website, cannot simply be dismissed as being unrelated to The Southern Cross because it did not appear in the print edition. If anything, online content is arguably far more harmful and long lasting than any printed matter.
This blog of Sr. Sue Rakoczy is based entirely on a statement, which can only be considered a lie. There appears to be no evidence whatsoever that the Pope used the term "Lord Cardinals" as Sr. Sue accuses him of doing. Sr. Sue’s refusal or failure to provide the source, despite having had 31 days to do so already, leaves one with no alternative but to assume that this blog was written with sole purpose of bashing the Pope by using fabricated information! Yet the editor of The Southern Cross has failed to withdraw the blog and, quite the opposite, has allowed it to retain a place of prominence on the homepage of The Southern Cross website for at least 14 days!
Last week, on Thursday 8 of March 2012, I in frustration sent the following email to the editor of The Southern Cross. To date I have received no response to this email.
From: Mark Nel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Lord Cardinals - Sue Rakoczy
Date: 08 March 2012 22:45:21 PM SAST
To: Günther Simmermacher <email@example.com>
Since Sue Rakoczy's blog, titled "Lord Cardinals", appeared on the homepage of The Southern Cross on 22 February 2012, a number of comments have been posted indicating that the blog appears to be mendacious.
Reasonable requests have been made, in the comments to that blog, that Sue Rakoczy disclose the source of her statement: "I was disturbed to read that at the recent consistory Pope Benedict had addressed the new cardinals as 'Lord Cardinals'."
Despite these requests, Sue Rakoczy, and you, appear to have decided to ignore these requests and leave the blog as is.
Have you asked Sue Rakoczy to disclose her source? If so, why has Sue Rakoczy not disclosed her source to readers yet?
If Sue Rakoczy is unable to provide a source, why have you not asked her to retract her blog? Why also have you not asked her to issue an apology by way of the same blog format? Such a blog of apology should of course be displayed equally prominently on the homepage of The Southern Cross, for the same minimum period of 14 days, as has been the case with her current blog post.
I await your response.
I have received no response from the editor. Yet this mendacious blog about the Pope remains on the website of The Southern Cross, though thankfully now it has eventually dropped down onto the second page.
Is it acceptable that the editor, having been given ample opportunity to remove this mendacious content about the Pope, has simply failed or refused to do so? Is it right that the editor has allowed The Southern Cross website to house blogs of bloggers who think nothing of fabricating information in order to 'bash' the Pope? Is it acceptable that the editor seemingly has no control over the content of the blogs that are posted on The Southern Cross website? Am I expecting too much from our only South African Catholic newspaper?